: views from the Hill

Sunday, January 08, 2006

New Year's Day 2006 Surprise

We're headed down shortly to the bucolic ville, nestled in the verdant foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, to meet our real estate guy's tree guy. We had a phone call from our yard guy right after we'd set the appointment with the tree guy that the yard guy had finished cleaning up the mess.

What mess, you say?

Our youngest is on break from university until mid-January. He's been driving south on a regular basis to see friends. When he does, he always spins by to see how the house is doing, especially this past week when we've been having wicked rain and wind. Check to see if the trees are okay, we say. Make sure nothing's happened to the house, we say.

He called Sunday night (January 1st) to say a huge branch or something had fallen in back and had taken out the phone line to my old office and was leaning up against the gutters. Luckily, he was using our car, which just happened to have a saw stashed in the trunk, so he sawed through the bit of tree enough to unleash it from the house. It was night time. He checked for leaks and couldn't see any, but, then, he couldn't see much in the dark.

We went by the next day, Monday, to see how bad things were. I spent a couple hours just raking the branches and deadfall off the driveway and putting the debris in the recycle yard waste bin and then, when that was full, into a big pile by the garage. The driveway was now clear, but the pile was BIG and needed to be dealt with.

debris pile

Out in back? We'd had a tall redwood with a split crown maybe twenty feet from the house. The two crowns were probably ten inches or more in diameter -- at the point they split from the common trunk -- and about forty feet tall. One side of the split crown came down in the wind and the rain.

debris pile

Bad as that was, as the piece came down, it knocked against the tree next to it, taking out every branch on one side (about fifteen) on the way down.

debris pile

No wonder our scout was puzzled by all the green stuff and branches and what-not all over the back patio.

We were lucky. If the tree top had dropped at a slightly different angle, it probably would've hit the overhang on the main house with uncertain consequences. We were also lucky that the piece coming down was slowed and buffered by the branches on the tree next to it. The house is fine. The roof held. No leaks. But the tree pieces were too large for us to handle. We needed someone with a chain saw.

debris pile

His nibs put a call in to our yard guy and to our real estate guy. Our real estate guy was gone for nine days for the holidays but would be back in the office on Wednesday. The yard guy was probably away too, as he didn't call until Thursday. By that time he'd been by to look at the project and said he'd need to hire a couple extra guys and haul everything out. He'd charge $700, including dump fees. We needed the place clear before the weekend open houses started up again.

I was pumping the pool cover on Friday when our real estate guy dropped by. He'd been thinking his nibs' phone message meant that one of the trees had lost a branch. (his nibs says the message had been a piece of one of the trees came down and the back is a big mess). The look on Chuck's face when he came out in back and saw the mess was priceless. Being as our yard guy is his yard guy too, he put in a call to light a fire under our yard guy. Get the mess out of the back patio, he said.

The sad bit is that the bulk of the tree top landed on my lovely decades-old azaleas which make a beautiful multi-colored bloom every spring. I fear the azaleas are totally crushed and there will be no spectacular azalea display to entice a buyer this spring. Now that the debris has been carted away, we'll be able to see how the azaleas are doing when we go down today to meet up with the tree guy.

Life goes on.


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